Councillors back Nobby Clark's refusal to resign

Invercargill's controversy-plagued mayor Nobby Clark has refused to fall on his sword - and fellow councillors have backed his decision in a 5-4 vote.

Mr Clark's medical fitness to continue as Invercargill’s mayor has been questioned amid an avalanche of complaints ahead of this this afternoon's code of conduct meeting.

He was accused of bringing the council and the city into disrepute after a series of high-profile verbal gaffes and controversies.

Several said they would ask him to resign but a motion calling on Mr Clark to tender his resignation was lost.

Four councillors supported the resolution and five voted against it.

However, councillors then voted to formally censure Mr Clark and ask him to step back from public appearances for the rest of the council term.

Deputy mayor Tom Campbell, who chaired today's meeting, put forward his own motion that requested the mayor delegate his appearance at all formal public events for the rest of the council term.

The motion also asked for a letter of censure and for the mayor to apologise to the MC of an event who he wrongly implied was having an affair and made personal attacks about, including regarding her appearance and competence.

He was also asked to publicly apologise to councillors, council staff and the city's residents.

Mr Clark made it clear at the start of the meeting that he was staying put.

Nobby Clark makes a statement at the meeting before leaving a few minutes after it started. Photo...
Nobby Clark makes a statement at the meeting before leaving a few minutes after it started. Photo: Craig Baxter
Mr Clark made a short statement before leaving the meeting.

"Over four years as deputy mayor and now as mayor, I have spoken at over 300 meetings," Mr Clark said.

"I do not accept the public complaint should be dealt with in this way. I will take leave to seek review. It is in my view a dangerous precedent. 

"I will not be resigning."

The complaint alleges poor behaviour from Mr Clark at a United Fire Brigades’ Association (UFBA) prizegiving in March, where he was a guest of honour alongside his partner.

Included in the allegations were claims he called volunteer firefighters second-class citizens, verbally attacked the MC and disparaged young people in authority.

Invercargill city councillor Steve Broad said Mr Clark’s recent behaviour was below the honour and privilege of the role.

"As each councillor makes their decision I’d also ask the mayor to ask himself whether he is medically or otherwise fit to carry that honour at the moment."

The Southland Business Chamber also weighed in yesterday, questioning Mr Clark’s medical fitness and calling on him to stand down.

Mr Clark has since apologised for his behaviour, saying he was suffering from "brain fade" following open-heart surgery. He also maintained some of his behaviour was not as described.

 - ODT Online/Matthew Littlewood/additional reporting RNZ